Caprylic acid: structure, properties, and food sources

Caprylic acid, a carboxylic acid with a 8 carbon chain, belongs to the group of saturated fatty acids, since no double bond is present in the aliphatic chain. Its shorthand nottion is 8:0.
It also is a member of the group called medium chain fatty acids or MCFAs, namely, fatty acids containg from 6 to 12 carbon atoms.
It is named from from the Latin word caper, meaning goat.

Molecular weight: 144.21144 g/mol
Molecular formula: C8H16O2
IUPAC name: octanoic acid
PubChem: 379

Skeletal formula of caprylic acid, a saturated fatty acid
Caprylic Acid

In purified form it is a colorless oily liquid very slightly soluble in water, with melting point at 16.7 °C (62.06 °F; 289.85 K) and boiling point at 239.7 °C (463.46 °F; 512.85 K) at 760 mmHg.

octylic acid
n-caprylic acid
octoic acid
n-octanoic acid
n-octylic acid
enantic acid
octic acid
n-octoic acid
1-heptanecarboxylic acid

Food sources of caprylic acid

It occurs as glycerol ester in animal fats like those present in butter and milk (in the latter from 1 to 4 percent of the fats) and in coconut and palm oil (6 to 8 percent).
It has a slightly unpleasant rancid taste in the free form.


  1. Akoh C.C. and Min D.B. “Food lipids: chemistry, nutrition, and biotechnology” 3th ed. 2008
  2. Chow Ching K. “Fatty acids in foods and their health implication” 3th ed. 2008

Biochemistry, metabolism, and nutrition